Archive for the Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre Category

A Lot of Responsibility

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 24, 2020 by RobALott

Every time you step onstage—no matter what role—you are the authority in the room. The audience is looking to you to take and to have control.

When things go wrong, the audience will always look to those onstage to fix it.

This is a lot of responsibility.

Don’t abdicate.
Don’t delegate.
Don’t shirk.

Own it. Be the expert. Be the authority.

Better Look Busy

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on January 27, 2020 by RobALott

Want to look busy during strike without any actual responsibility?

Just go to center stage and stare up into the fly space. Every once in a while make a gesture like something needs to be moved up there.

The actual work will get done and you won’t have to do any of it.

(Just a heads up, though. You might fool the others who are looking to get out of the work and responsibility, but you won’t fool those who are doing the actual work or are taking the responsibility. That might have some long term consequences.)

No Apologies Necessary

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on January 20, 2020 by RobALott

“If an audience member takes the time to approach you and tell you that they enjoyed the show, you graciously take the compliment and thank them.

You don’t tell them that you hated that show, and rattle off all the things that went wrong.”

-Randy Cabral

I only learned this after apologizing for far too many shows, and then dealing with the awkward conversation after.

“Oh, I’m so sorry you had to see that.”

“Oh, that was not our best show.”

“I hope you come back and see a better show.”

“I wish you had been at the early show. That was the good one.”

We don’t always have as much control over a good or bad show as we think we might. And we don’t get to tell an audience how they should feel about the show they saw.

Apologize to your cast, sure.

Apologize to your stage manager, yes.

But the audience doesn’t care to hear your apology. Pretty much ever.

Off The Stage And Out The Stage Door…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 23, 2019 by RobALott

To Those of Us Who Spend Any Amount of Time on Stage,

We are so often easily recognized off the stage. Our audiences have spent anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours investing their time and emotions in us, our character, and our story.

Let’s make sure our behavior off-stage continues to represent our performance, our show, and (bonus points), our producer well.

Out of makeup, out of costume, and out of the spotlight — we are still being watched. No need to perform, but let’s not tarnish our performance or our audience’s experience with out of character off-brand behavior.

As A Theatrical Director…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 16, 2019 by RobALott

As a theatrical director, I give verbal notes to cast, crew, and design teams at the beginning and end of each day’s rehearsal. These contain observations for adjustments to improve performances, as well as technical, and design elements. My comments are critical, which means they are a product of my analysis toward accomplishing a better result. I make an evaluation as to quality and effectiveness.

Giving notes must not mean that I am judgmental in a mean-spirited or arrogant way. To have value, my critiques must be constructive, informative, understandable, and above all doable. Otherwise they are just a scold. My observations must “serve the work” and make our production stronger, richer, smarter, and more engaging. A director’s notes are worthless, hollow words if they don’t move us all toward greater artistic achievement. This would be true for anyone in a supervisory position in any organization.

Hatch! by C. McNair Wilson

If Relevance Is The Aim…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on October 7, 2019 by RobALott

….then we must have the courage to ask and recognize where we’re out of touch.

We absolutely must have the courage to ask where our blind spots are, and the wisdom, then, to ask for help.

A Team Is Only As Good…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin' on August 5, 2019 by RobALott

“A team is only as good as its weakest member.“

Wrong.

A team is only as good as its ability to compensate for its weakest member.

We will all be weak in a skill or a subject for a moment, or a day, or a season.

It’s a team’s ability to rally, support, and have the back of its members when they are struggling that determines its strength.

For the First Timers

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on July 29, 2019 by RobALott

Do the show for the First Timers in the audience.

First Timers become Returners.

Returners are trying to get that feeling back that they had when they were First Timers.

The Audience Plays Their Part

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Rob Recommends on April 22, 2019 by RobALott

In his book, Born Standing Up, Steve Martin talks about his learned ability to listen to an audience and adjust his timing. He could hear the intake of air just before a sneeze or a cough. He’d see someone shift in their chair just before noisily pushing it out from their table. He’d hear and see these things, and he’d wait to say the punch line, or he’d get the punch line in just before the audience interruption. He learned to ride the wave of laughter and applause, listening to it, responding to it, waiting for it, and just after its peak, continuing on to maintain flow and energy.

The audience is playing their part in our performance. And just like an unnecessary character has no place on the stage, the audience can tell if we don’t need them to do our show. They can tell pretty quickly if we are just covering the material or getting through the show. And they, rightly so, will check out and stop playing their part altogether.

The same way we give fellow actors the time and space they need to play their part, and the same way we would never steamroll a fellow actor onstage, we should never steamroll an audience’s laugher and applause, and we must allow them the time and space to be who they are — a live audience.

I Don’t But I Do

Posted in Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on March 25, 2019 by RobALott

I don’t love reading. I love having read.

I don’t love writing. I love having written.

I don’t love rehearsal. I love being prepared.

I don’t love putting on the costume. I love stepping onstage.

My mom was right when she said,

“Sometimes you have to do some things you don’t want to do in order to do the things you do want to do.”